January 14th
District Winery
385 Water St SE, Washington, DC 20003

Register Here

Join Us

The modern diner expects extraordinary hospitality every time they interact with your restaurant. At the OpenTable Hospitality Forum, you’ll be able to connect with leaders from across the restaurant industry on how to bring extraordinary hospitality to life.

Panels and presentations by industry innovators will cover:

  • The State of Hospitality and Future Trends
  • How to Secure Regular Diners
  • Establishing Brand Trust with Storytelling

Rob Wilder


ThinkFoodGroup & World Central Kitchen

Since baking and selling quiches door-to-door as a teen, Rob has made food his business. In 1993, Rob and Jose Andres co-founded ThinkFoodGroup, which Restaurant Business Magazine dubbed the “most innovative multi-concept company in America,” developing over 30 restaurants worldwide including Minibar, Jaleo, The Bazaar and Mercado Little Spain.

Winston Lord

Chief Evangelist


Winston has nearly 30 years of marketing, public relations and business experience, which took off after his short-lived barback career of 3 days. Luckily, his passion for hospitality lived on and inspired him to co-found Venga in 2010. Sam & Winston wanted to put the power back in restaurants’ hands and allow them to own their story and control their marketing. Winston is now at OpenTable as Chief Evangelist.

Sam Pollaro

VP Strategic Initiatives


Sam is SVP, Strategic Initiatives at OpenTable where he is overseeing the company’s consumer loyalty program. Previously, he spent ten years as the CEO and co-founder of Venga, a Washington, DC-based technology company that used data to help restaurants better understand and engage with their customers. When not working, Sam spends most of his time thinking about where his next meal will be.

Nevin Martell

Food & Travel Author

Nevin Martell is a D.C.-area based food and travel writer, recipe developer, and photographer who has been published by The Washington Post, New York Times, Saveur, Men’s Journal, National Geographic Traveler, Fortune, Travel + Leisure, Runner’s World, Michelin Guide, Plate, and many other publications. He is the author of eight books, including Red Truck Bakery Cookbook: Gold-Standard Recipes from America’s Favorite Rural Bakery, and The Founding Farmers Cookbook: 100 Recipes for True Food & Drink.

What’s in store?


Check-in with coffee & tea



Winston Lord, Venga Co-Founder & OpenTable Chief Evangelist, will kick off our day


Presentation | State of Hospitality

The hospitality industry is changing and the modern diner has higher expectations than ever. Join Sam Pollaro as he forecasts the market and technology trends most important for your restaurant this year, with a special focus on the value of guest retention.


Roundtable Discussion | How to Secure Regulars

Restaurants know that having regular diners is better for business because it’s more costly to acquire a new guest than retain an existing one. But how do you actually secure regulars? Join restaurant leaders and partners for a discussion, moderated by Nevin Martell, on best practices for fostering diner loyalty and the future of loyalty programming.


Fireside Chat | Establishing Brand Trust through Storytelling

The truth is, there are plenty of ways to build your brand, whether it’s providing extraordinary experiences, rewards programs, a strong brand story, or community engagement initiatives. But how do you do it all, and effectively? We’ll sit down with the co-founder of ThinkFoodGroup and WorldCentral kitchen, Rob Wilder, as he tells the story of building brands and businesses with one key impact in mind: keep diners coming back!


Networking & Happy Hour

Join the speakers and attendees for cocktails and bites on the terrace.


We look forward to seeing you!


Questions? We’re happy to help. Contact us at:

The summit is a free, by-invitation only event. Limited space is available, so secure your spot today! Invitation is non-transferable.

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